Stefan D. Voigt

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How to create anaglyph stereo in After Effects

Broken - monoscopic preview


Broken - stereoscopic preview

A short tutorial about creating simple anaglyph within After Effects or Photoshop.

red & cyan 3D glasses needed


In this article I will talk about anaglyph with red and cyan (not green) glasses, because this method gives the best color representation. 

First you create a composition that contains both of your streams (left & right eye).
The left eye is on top of the right eye.

anaglyph comp 



Then you use the effect “Channel Mixer” (Kanalmixer in German) on your left stream with the following settings:

left stream channel mixer Broken anaglyph red


Red: 100 %
Blue: 0 %
Green: 0 %






After that you select the right stream and apply the same effect with the opposed settings:

right stream channel mixer Broken anaglyph cyan


Red: 0 %
Blue: 100 %
Green: 100 %




Now you have partitioned all values of the RGB system into your left and right eye.
The left eye gets all the red and the right eye gets all the blue and green colors (which results into cyan).

anaglyph composition 02 

Now you just change the layer style of your left eye into “Difference” or “Add”.
So now you have this:


Broken - simple anaglyph

Still the red areas are causing a little bit of eyestrain, because red is a very intense color and doesn't get mixed with other colors like the right eye.

If you want to reduce your overall eyestrain and get a better anaglyph experience you should read my tutorial about Anaglyph Color Correction to get from the upper image to this:

Broken - Anaglyph Color Correction

Feel free to ask questions, if any description is unclear or if you have troubles finding the right buttons.




Creative Commons Lizenzvertrag

"How to create anaglyph stereo in After Effects" by Stefan D. Voigt  is licensed under a  
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Germany License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available here.



avatar avesta.M
Across my problem. A film on blue and red once I become. But when the mode would change for each does not happen. My movie red top and blue light and put down as you say they've changed mode but the colors red and blue movies are does not change. I just composition even a separate and composition both put into it but did not change. Please help me. Sorry that did not type English well.
avatar Stefan D. Voigt
Hey there,

you should go through the whole tutorial again and double check everything.
Make sure you've given each eye a change in color. Then set the layer mode of the upper image sequence to "difference (or add)".

You can also check out this tutorial: -correction-

Or you can download a cool plugin by a friend of mine:

best regards,
Stefan Voigt
avatar Avesta
see your mailbox
avatar Steinar Rolseth Ness
Are you using different layers in this composition? I get a very godd background, but importing another layer to put on top, results en very hard blue, or red edges.. I found out that the red glass, is the the obe who makes a very hard blue edge..

I done the the same thing in photoshop (the same scene actually) with good results, but the you dont hav to use blending modes.. Has that soemething to do with it?? Does the add og different blend with just the underlying layer, or all underlying objects maybe??

Thank you ..

Your images look great.. I got the sam result but in photoshop..
avatar Stefan D. Voigt
You should use one Layer for the left eye and one for the right eye.
Don't bring any other layers into your anaglyph composition, otherwise there can be strange results.

The best way is to work with pre-composition s.
So you will composite all the elements for your left eye in one composition and likewise for the right eye in a seperate composition.
After that you put the two composition files for the left and the right eye into another composition.
In this composition you can create the anaglyph effect.
avatar John
The left eye and right eye are the same exact composition? or do you have to tweak each to be specific to left eye and right eye and if so, what tweaks do you need to do? would this work for any composition?
avatar Stefan D. Voigt
No, left and right eye are not the exact same composition.
The layers should be the same. But the left eye shows the image from a slightly different view (camera position), than the right eye.
If you are doing a simple 2D animation for example, with a man in the foreground and a landscape in the background. On your left eye, move the man from the middle position slightly to the right and the landscape slighty to the left. On the right eye do the opposite thing. move the man from the middle position slightly to the left and thelandscape to the right. Now your man should get out of screen and your landscape should be behind the screen.
avatar Jimmy
I'm having a problem. Whenever I put the red layer over the cyan and i go to change the blending mode to difference or add, all it does is get rid of the color changes i applied. I have no idea what I'm doing wrong. Could someone please help me. Thanks a lot.
avatar Stefan D. Voigt
I am assuming that your left and right eye is the same image.
But the perspective of your right eye should be slightly different from your left eye.
So try moving one of your eyes horizontally and check if that changes anything.
avatar Jimmy
Thanks, that did the trick. I plan on making a 3D video with 2 camera perspectives for school later this year but wanted to play with it so I planned on taking one of the videos I already had and just play around with it and see how it looks. Thanks once again/.
avatar Jimmy
About how much do you recommend moving it over?
avatar Stefan D. Voigt
Take one thirtieth of your horizontal screen size as a maximum.
So if you're having a HD image. Divide 1920 px / 30 = 64 px

Now, 64 px should be your maximum image separation (also called deviation).
But you should use a smaller value first.

I wish you success!

avatar Stephen
How would you compare this method to using the "Balanced Colored Red Blue" from the "3D Glasses" Effect in AE? Which one is better? I guess your method is optimized for Red-Cyan while the built-in function is optimized for Red-Blue.
avatar Stefan D. Voigt

the Red & Blue methots by the 3D glasses effect represents only two colour channels, while red and cyan can represent all 3 Channels. So with my method your audience will see all three channels: R, G and B. Therefore you'll have a slightly better color representation.
But it really depends on the glasses you'll give your audience. Is the right glass blue or cyan?
I think Red & Cyan anaglyphs have become a standard and that's why I can't find red & blue glasses anymore. ^^
If you are watching a red & blue anaglyph with red & cyan glasses you will also have a slight ghosting, which can be quite disturbing. I really can't understand why the 3D Glasses effect doesn't have more methods to create anaglyph...
avatar Stephen
Thanks for your quick response. Our company is working on making 3D Stereo and we are testing out methods using anaglyph. We are using Red-Cyan glasses. I have noticed that when we use the Red-Blue function that is built-in to the 3D Glasses Effect, there is in fact a slight ghosting. It is almost like there is an Unsharp mask filter along everything. It is mostly confined to the red lens. I guess this is due to the blue balancing so that some of what is supposed to be the cyan image is too blue and shows up in the red lens.
avatar Stefan D. Voigt
you can use this plug-in for after effects to get nice optimized anaglyph:

best regards,
avatar Stephen M.
Thank you for the tutorial. I am excited to see the results from my own work.


Stephen M.
avatar Jan Látal
Hello, I just made first 3d documentry film ;) I make it due to your instructions and everything go well. But only on my monitor. Whene I screen it on the wall (scheep projector - cca 2meters screen). The 3D doesnt work and everybody see it twice. Please do you have any advice to me? Thank you very much. I am using red and blue glasses and your method of anaglyph. Thanks a lot again.
avatar Stefan D. Voigt
sounds like the camera distance between your cameras is too large for big screens.
On a stereoscopic movie you always have to plan for the biggest screen the movie will be shown on.
Big screens need a very small disparity and small screens can have a higher disparity.
So for the next time keep the cameras closer. ;)

What you can do now:
Try to move the right image to the left until the red and cyan edges get real close. You will move your whole stereo space around, but at least your audience can watch the movie. After you have defined a new convergence point (zero plane) you need to crop your movie to the overlapping range of the two pictures.

Have you watched my video tutorials about stereoscopy? Maybe the will help you, too: ession-01-basics ession-02-camera-setup

Wish you good luck!

avatar jay
thank for this tute great tute
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